Monday Briefing


Thousands of people gathered outside Israel’s Parliament yesterday in one of the largest demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the start of the war in Gaza.

He has faced increasing pressure, abroad and at home, over Israel’s handling of the war, and many Israelis are calling for him to resign. Close allies like the U.S. have criticized the war’s heavy civilian toll and have urged Israel to allow more aid into Gaza. And many Israelis have demanded that Netanyahu prioritize the release of the hostages held by Hamas as part of a cease-fire deal. Thousands demonstrated against Netanyahu’s government in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The protests in Jerusalem, which were expected to continue through Wednesday, came as in-person talks about a potential cease-fire resumed in Cairo.

Context: Protests against Netanyahu over his plan to overhaul the judiciary largely subsided after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack on Israel, but public dissatisfaction with the war has now driven Israelis back into the streets.

Another issue: Netanyahu also faces a dispute over a bill to extend ultra-Orthodox Jews’ exemption from compulsory military service, with his right-wing governing coalition at stake. If the state does not extend the exemption, ultra-Orthodox lawmakers might leave the coalition; if it does, secular members could walk out.

The men who killed Maksim Kuzminov wanted to send a message. The killers shot him six times in a parking garage in southern Spain, then ran over his body with their car. Investigators at the scene found casings from ammunition that was commonly used in the former Communist bloc.

Kuzminov defected from Russia to Ukraine last summer, flying a military helicopter into Ukrainian territory with secret documents. He committed the one offense President Vladimir Putin of Russia has said he will never forgive: treachery.

His killing in the seaside resort town of Villajoyosa in February has raised fears that Russia’s European spy networks continue to operate and are targeting enemies of the Kremlin, despite concerted efforts to dismantle them after Putin invaded Ukraine in 2022.

No evidence of direct Kremlin involvement has emerged. But Russia has made no secret of its desire to see Kuzminov dead, and senior police officials said that the attack resembled similar ones by the Kremlin.

Farmers are protesting across Europe, enraged by tightening E.U. environmental regulations, reduced farm subsidies and cheap grain and poultry imports from Ukraine.

Their discontent threatens to do more than change how Europe produces food. Farmers are blunting climate goals, reshaping politics ahead of elections for the European Parliament in June and shaking European unity against Russia, as the war in Ukraine increases costs. The turmoil has emboldened a far right that thrives on grievances and rattled a European establishment forced to make concessions.

A poor fisherman in a Turkish village was retrieving his net from a lake when he found that a white stork had alighted on his boat. The fisherman tossed the stork some fish, and he made a friend — the stork returned for the next 13 years.

The modern-day fable brought unexpected fame to the fisherman, Adem Yilmaz, and the stork, Yaren, after a deft social media campaign by a wildlife photographer, and the pair has co-starred in a documentary and a children’s book.

  • Here’s our review of “Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé’s new country album, which openly interrogates categories and stereotypes and pointedly ignores formulas.

  • Many landlords now treat graffiti as a cool commodity, but gentrification can drive out the artists whose work has made a neighborhood trendy.

  • Matt Farley has written 24,000 songs in 20 years, with the goal of writing a song about anything searchable. Last year, he made $200,000 from the project.

Cavan Sullivan: The 14-year-old American “diamond” that Manchester City will acquire for $2 million.

“What we need”: The pop-up dreaming of becoming Britain’s first women’s sports bar.

When Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won nearly a dozen Emmys for her roles in “Seinfeld” and “Veep,” hit her 60s, she was struck by a realization: She wanted to hear from the old ladies.

So she started a podcast, “Wiser Than Me,” which was named Apple Podcasts’ show of the year for 2023. On the show she interviews well-known women, like Isabel Allende, Patti Smith and Carol Burnett, about the joys and sorrows of aging.

So does age beget candor? Louis-Dreyfus thinks so. “With these women,” she said, “it’s like, ‘Oh, who cares — here’s the truth.’”

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